There is a desire implanted deep in the core of our being. A desire to be loved. We hunt, seek, beg, borrow and steal to try and fill this longing to be loved.
In the quest to find and be filled with love our very understanding of what LOVE is has been tainted, tarnished and manipulated into something unrecognizable. We, as a nation chased after something that masquerades as love, but is empty.
What is this tainted version of love that captivates our society?
It’s a love that says:
- I will love you, only if you agree with me.
- I will love you, only if you agree with my thinking.
- I will love you, only if you agree with my politics.
- I will love you, only if you agree with my choices.
- I will love you, only if you agree with my lifestyle.
- I will love you, only if you agree with my offenses.
We have come to believe this false notion that love equals agreement. And even more so, that disagreement equals hate.
Here’s the thing: Disagreement doesn’t equal hate. And agreement doesn’t equal love.
How do I know this? Well, let’s take the microcosm of my home. There is a lot of LOVE in my home. But there is also a lot of disagreement.
Here is a simplified example: Marshall was raised with a strict bedtime. I was raised with a loose bedtime. Our oldest is now 11. To this day we disagree about when the kids need to get in bed.
We certainly express our opinions – and that causes disagreements. But the disagreement doesn’t mean we have lost love for each other.
The question is, in this situation who’s right? I am guessing if you grew up in a home with a strict bedtime, you will agree with Marshall and may even elevate him a little as “smarter” than me because of his perspective.
And if you grew up with a loose bedtime, you agree with me, and may elevate me up a notch on your “cool meter”. But the fact that you may disagree with my choice to let the kids stay up, isn’t grounds for you to hate me, right?
Disagreement doesn’t represent the absence of love. But that is what our society believes about love.
I believe that the ability to disagree is the opportunity to express love.
And I know this is hard to believe, but it’s not about being right. It is about learning to love despite our differences, disagreements and quarrels.
We are a nation more divided than ever. Yet we are a nation that likes to TALK about love, peace and unity. But we have no idea how to live it out.
Why are we so far from unity and love when it’s a constant push from the news, media and culture?
The love that’s promoted in the media is a love that believes “love equals agreement” and “disagreement equals hate.”
I have come to believe it’s hard to promote love, peace and unity when we are tip-toeing around offenses. When we walk around with our guard up.
The reality is, our nation is more concerned about who offended us or disagrees with us than taking real steps toward unity and love. We are more concerned about our own ideas and beliefs being heard and recognized than we care about understanding the ideas of others.
Our affections for one another have been made clear, as we have had our share of challenging times. I suppose these challenging times have exposed the greatest facacy of this kind of love, and that is – SELF. Self at the center. Self all the time.
I don’t know the last time you read Philippians 2:3, but this verse is just down right convicted me.
Philippians 2:3-4 says, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility consider one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”
Difficult circumstances cause what’s in a person’s heart to rise to the surface. It brings out the true character of an individual. When we feel challenged or pushed into a corner our truest self spews out on display.
I can’t expect those who do not know Christ to live Philippians 2:3 out. But I do believe this is Christ’s intent for His followers.
I am sad to say what has risen to the surface for the US of A though the challenges we have faced in the last year are selfishness, conceit and looking to our own individual interests.
What a picture of Christ to the world.
As we have seen in our great nation, we say we want to be accepting and inclusive and yet sputter words of hate and division, the moment someone voices opposition to our view.
We are one nation. One broken nation. One nation in need of a transfusion of real, authentic love. A love that can only be found in Jesus Christ. We are a nation that is in desperate need of the gentle correction of a shepherd. (Isaiah 40:11)
As his daughter, and as His children together we have a job to do. We have a job to be initiators of healing through the doorway of the love of Jesus Christ. We are equipped to bring healing by the hand of God working in and through us. But are we willing?
Romans 5:43-46 says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?”
Church we have become easily offended. When we are offended, it’s impossible to express love to those around us. It is impossible to be initiators of healing. It’s impossible to step into our calling as the hands and feet of Jesus to a hurting and broken world.
It’s of course, easy, as Romans 5 tells us, to love those who love us. It’s easy to love those who agree with our choices, lifestyles and decisions.
There is no reward for choosing the easy path. Loving those who love us, that is.
Love is not about being right. Love is not about laying down convictions to be in agreement. Love is not about ignoring the truth.
But love is about learning to disagree and love anyway. It’s about learning to speak the truth in love. (Ephesians 4:15)
Just because I love you, doesn’t mean I am going to agree with you.
Just because I disagree with you doesn’t mean I hate you.
Harkening back to the days of girl scouts and singing the treasured song, “Kumbaya my Lord, kumbaya” what a beautiful picture of unity.
Sitting knee to knee in the kumbaya circle doesn’t mean that everyone in the circle agrees. Participating in kumbaya just means that everyone is willing to bring their true self – similarities and differences to the circle.
Recognizing that our disagreements and differences make us stronger.
“Kumbaya” means “Come by here” . What if we sang and pleaded with God to “come by here” because we have a nation crying in pain, heartache. We are a nation broken and desperate to be loved.
Our culture struggles to hold disagreement and love in the same context. But what if we, as children of the Most High God began to live this way? What if we began to be the demonstration of true love our nation is looking for? We have the answer people are longing for. Better than any vaccine, we can give the hurting around us Jesus.
What if we step into our role of being Jesus to the world, loving our enemies, doing nothing out of selfish ambition, or conceit…even when the world plays that game?
There is healing to be done. There are wounds to be bound. You and I, my brothers and sisters, are the answer to many peoples prayers for unity, for love, for restoration because our God dwells in us.
Let’s lift up our nation in prayer. Let’s be the voice of a new narrative that says I may not agree with you but I do love you.
For more resources to grow in faith, hope and LOVE go to my website: www.stephaniewinslow.com